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With Matt Eberflus leaving, the Dallas Cowboys have reached an agreement with Kris Richard to be their defensive passing game coordinator, sources confirmed.

Richard spent the previous three seasons as the Seattle Seahawks’ defensive coordinator but was a surprise dismissal after the 2017 season by head coach Pete Carroll. Eberflus, the Cowboys linebackers coach since 2011, is expected to become defensive coordinator with the Indianapolis Colts once Josh McDaniels is named head coach following Super Bowl LII.

Eberflus was given the passing game coordinator title last season, during which he effectively managed the back seven of the defense and relayed the calls by coordinator Rod Marinelli, who also runs the defensive line.

Richard helped develop the famed “Legion of Boom” secondary with Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, before becoming the coordinator after Dan Quinn left to be head coach of the Atlanta Falcons.

The Cowboys run a similar scheme as that of the Seahawks; but with young secondary players including Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, Xavier Woods, Byron Jones and Jeff Heath, Richard can help their development.

The Cowboys also need a linebackers coach and have interviewed John Pagano.They are close to hiring Kellen Moore as quarterbacks coach. And they are expected to keep Gary Brown as running backs coach.

Dallas already has hired Paul Alexander (offensive line) and Sanjay Lal (wide receivers), and it is looking at Keith O’Quinn as special-teams coach. The tight ends job remains open.

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With Matt Eberflus leaving, the Dallas Cowboys have reached an agreement with Kris Richard to be their defensive passing game coordinator, sources confirmed.

Richard spent the previous three seasons as the Seattle Seahawks’ defensive coordinator but was a surprise dismissal after the 2017 season by head coach Pete Carroll. Eberflus, the Cowboys linebackers coach since 2011, is expected to become defensive coordinator with the Indianapolis Colts once Josh McDaniels is named head coach following Super Bowl LII.

Eberflus was given the passing game coordinator title last season, during which he effectively managed the back seven of the defense and relayed the calls by coordinator Rod Marinelli, who also runs the defensive line.

Richard helped develop the famed “Legion of Boom” secondary with Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, before becoming the coordinator after Dan Quinn left to be head coach of the Atlanta Falcons.

The Cowboys run a similar scheme as that of the Seahawks; but with young secondary players including Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, Xavier Woods, Byron Jones and Jeff Heath, Richard can help their development.

The Cowboys also need a linebackers coach and have interviewed John Pagano.They are close to hiring Kellen Moore as quarterbacks coach. And they are expected to keep Gary Brown as running backs coach.

Dallas already has hired Paul Alexander (offensive line) and Sanjay Lal (wide receivers), and it is looking at Keith O’Quinn as special-teams coach. The tight ends job remains open.

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The changes Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett have alluded to since the Dallas Cowboys’ season ended have started.

According to multiple sources, special-teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia will be allowed to leave despite being under contract with the Cowboys for two more seasons, and quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson and secondary coach Joe Baker, whose contracts were set to expire, were told they will not be back with the team.

Bisaccia will most likely to join Jon Gruden with the Oakland Raiders.

The future of offensive line coach Frank Pollack is also in question, despite having three Pro Bowl players — Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin — in place since 2014. Pollack took over as line coach in 2015; during his tenure the Cowboys have finished ninth, second and second in the NFL in rushing.

Pass protection, however, was an issue in 2017, especially with Smith missing three full games and most of a fourth because of injuries. The Cowboys allowed 32 sacks; 22 came in the final eight games, including eight against Atlanta without Smith. Dak Prescott threw just one touchdown pass in the games in which Smith did not play.

Bisaccia had been the Cowboys’ assistant head coach and special-teams coordinator since 2013. While the return games have not produced much, the Cowboys’ coverage teams have been among the best in the NFL. The Cowboys allowed just 75 punt return yards this season, the fewest in the league. Before a late-season slide, Dan Bailey had been the most accurate kicker in NFL history, and punter Chris Jones had his best season.

The Cowboys had made a commitment to adding or keeping key special-teams contributors over the years.

Wilson had been the quarterbacks coach since 2007. He helped the development of Tony Romo and Prescott, who earned Pro Bowl honors, but the Cowboys drafted just two quarterbacks during Wilson’s tenure: Stephen McGee in 2009 and Prescott in 2016. Both were fourth-round picks.

Baker, a college teammate of Garrett’s, was promoted to secondary coach in 2016 after spending four seasons as an assistant secondary or safeties coach. The Cowboys have not had a secondary member lead the team with more than three interceptions since Terence Newman had four in 2011. The Cowboys selected four defensive backs — Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, Xavier Woods and Marquez White — in last year’s draft after opting to let veterans Brandon Carr, Barry Church, Morris Claiborne and J.J. Wilcox leave in free agency.

Carr, Church and Claiborne were much more productive with their new teams than they had been with the Cowboys in their final seasons.

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As Jason Garrett stood behind a podium inside what is normally the Oakland A’s weight room Sunday night, he could have ticked off 30, 40, maybe 50 things his Dallas Cowboys did wrong against the Oakland Raiders.

The Cowboys blew a 10-0 halftime lead. They converted 2 of 10 third-down chances. They did not sack Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. They allowed 5.3 yards per carry. They did not get a takeaway until the game’s final play, missing out on at least four opportunities. They allowed 25.8 yards per kickoff return. They were bailed out by three touchdowns called back by penalty or overturned by replay.

That’s just some of what went wrong.

But as Garrett spoke, he kept coming back to one word. It’s something he puts on T-shirts and sweatshirts for the players to wear. It is on Yeti cups. It is on a digital board inside the locker room.

Fight.

Nothing was really pretty about the Cowboys’ 20-17 win against the Raiders except the result.

“Continued to scratch, continued to claw,” Garrett said. “Wasn’t our most perfect performance in any phase of our football team, but the fight was there.”

The fight was never more evident than on the Raiders’ final play. With 39 seconds left, Oakland had a third-and-3 from the Dallas 8. Carr scrambled to his right with nobody open and saw the front pylon daring him to go for the touchdown.

As he lunged forward he was hit by safety Jeff Heath, knocking the ball loose and ultimately out of the end zone for a touchback.

“I thought that play typified what we’re trying to instill in our football team,” Garrett said. “Him laying out, somehow, some way not letting that guy get to the pylon and ultimately knocking the ball out. It was a helluva play. It was an unbelievable game.”

So unbelievable that the Cowboys’ playoff chances can be symbolized by the piece of paper referee Gene Steratore used to affirm a first down on a fourth-down quarterback sneak by Dak Prescott at the Dallas 39 with 4:49 to play.

“It’s a game of inches, a game of 5-by-7 note cards,” tight end Jason Witten joked.

That was on display on the Raiders’ final drive. Anthony Brown should have ended the game with an interception of Carr with 1:05 to play but inexplicably dropped the pass. On fourth down, rookie cornerback Jourdan Lewis was called for pass interference at the Dallas 15.

A win was looking like a loss or at least a trip to overtime. The season hung in the balance before Ezekiel Elliott could return from his six-game suspension. And then Heath came up to hit Carr as the quarterback was looking for the winning touchdown.

Beyond “fight,” the play was another Garrett mantra.

“He talked about ‘finish’ all week,” linebacker Sean Lee said. “That’s been a big theme for us, and I think it showed.”

Now Elliott’s return can mean more. Now the Cowboys can envision the scenarios they need to get to the postseason in back-to-back years for the first time since 2006 and ’07. But all they have done is guarantee themselves no worse than the fourth 8-8 finish in Garrett’s tenure as coach.

“We got Seattle,” Dez Bryant said. “And we got to reset. As soon as I walk out of this locker room and every last one of us walk out of this locker room, let’s reset. We’ve got to get ready for Seattle.”

The Cowboys’ playoff chances are better but still not in their control. They will likely need to win their final two games and need the Atlanta Falcons to lose two of their last three games and the Detroit Lions to lose one of their final two games.

“Nothing has changed,” Prescott said. “We know where we are. Our backs are against the wall. We’ve got to win and that is what this team is about. We’re excited and we’re loving these matchups. We’re loving the position we’re in. It is what it is. We got ourselves here and we’re excited about next week. Just one at a time.”

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Late in the season it’s not so rare to come up with more than seven inactive players.

In attempting to figure out the Dallas Cowboys’ 46-man active roster for Sunday night’s game against the Oakland Raiders, it’s easy to come up with more than seven players to sit.

First, cornerback Orlando Scandrick (back), defensive end David Irving (concussion), linebacker Justin Durant (concussion) and wide receiver Brice Butler (foot) have been ruled out because of injury.

The Cowboys also don’t need a third tailback (Trey Williams) or a fourth tight end (Blake Jarwin).

You can make the case they don’t need an eighth offensive lineman (Chaz Green), ninth defensive lineman (Daniel Ross) or eighth defensive back (Bene Benwikere), too.

So when you get down to the final few spots, who brings the most value?

Let’s start with Benwikere. He has become a pretty big part of the special-teams unit, but if something were to happen to Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis or Anthony Brown at cornerback, Benwikere can step in and play.

Given the presence of Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch, Ross makes some sense because he can bring size to the defensive line at 305 pounds. Ross has yet to play since the Cowboys claimed him off the Kansas City Chiefs’ practice squad, but his addition was made with a long-term view.

With La’el Collins getting two practices in for the first time in three weeks because of a back injury, Green would seem to be the most dispensable. With Byron Bell already active as the swing tackle, Green’s only real function without two injuries up front would be on the field goal protection unit. Is that enough value to dress on gameday?

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As things have soured for the Dallas Cowboys in these past three weeks, it’s almost as if they are waiting for something bad to happen.

More often than not, it did.

Before Philip Rivers lit up the Cowboys for 434 yards and threw three touchdown passes, he should have had a pass intercepted by cornerback Jourdan Lewis in the second quarter. Of course, the sun might have played an issue with Lewis dropping what should have been the second interception of his career. But Jerry Jones will say the sun doesn’t play an issue in late afternoon games at AT&T Stadium. Hey, the aesthetics of the place are great.

Trailing 9-0 in the third quarter, the Cowboys nearly had their first touchdown since the first quarter of their loss to the Atlanta Falcons when Dak Prescott ran 34 yards. But left tackle Tyron Smith was flagged for a holding penalty, negating the score. On the next play, Prescott was pressured and forced to throw the ball away, leading to a punt. Los Angeles scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive and a 16-0 lead was insurmountable.

The Cowboys’ margin for error is infinitesimal at this point.

“You have to focus on doing your job,” coach Jason Garrett said. “You have to focus on making good things happen for you, and when we play our best we do that.”

The Cowboys’ past three losses have followed a similar script. They trailed 10-7 at halftime against the Atlanta Falcons and lost 27-7. They led the Philadelphia Eagles 9-7 at halftime and lost 37-9. They trailed the Los Angeles Chargers 3-0 at halftime and lost 28-6.

The redundancy is stunning. The Falcons, Eagles and Chargers all scored on the first drive of the second half. In the past three games, the defense has given up eight touchdowns and a field goal in 14 possessions. Two of those possessions ended with the opponent taking a knee. Atlanta had a touchdown wiped out by a penalty on its final drive and gave the ball up on downs at the Dallas 26.

Offensively, the Cowboys have had 13 second-half possessions in their three-game losing streak and scored one touchdown. Five possessions have ended in turnovers (three interceptions, two fumbles) and five have ended in punts.

“We come out, it’s still a game in the second half and we can’t figure out how to put points on the board,” running back Alfred Morris said. “Then we turn around and before we know it we’ve put our defense in a bad spot. The defense is getting tired. We’re keeping them out on the field too much. Too many three-and-outs. We’re not converting on third down. … I really don’t have an answer. I wish I did because then maybe we’d find a solution. It sucks and we’re better than this. We’re better than this these last three games. But it seems like the same old, same old these past few weeks. We can’t do this another week.”

A year ago, the inverse was happening for the Cowboys. Everything that could go right, did go right. One win turned into two and then 11 in a row. Confidence swelled so much that when something would go wrong, they believed it would eventually go right again. It’s what happened in an overtime win against the Eagles after Prescott struggled for three-plus quarters. It happened again in Minnesota when they recovered a fumbled punt in the fourth quarter that set up their winning touchdown.

“We just have to sit here, grab ahold, get back and see if we can do better to win some games,” owner and general manager Jerry Jones said.

If teams can make their own good fortune, the opposite is also true. That’s the vortex the Cowboys can’t seem to escape.

“How we’re playing is who we are,” defensive end David Irving said. “We are what we repeatedly do. And if we don’t fix it — and fast — then, yeah, this is who we are.”

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Here’s a look at the first-half impact of the Dallas Cowboys’ draft class:

Taco Charlton, DE, first round: He finally picked up his first sack of the season against the Kansas City Chiefs and he hopes that opens the dam in the second half. The Cowboys have been able to rush the passer effectively without him making much of an impact, but they need more. The Cowboys will give him snaps as the season progresses to show what he can do. Grade: Below average

Chidobe Awuzie, DB, second round: A hamstring strain has limited his effectiveness for most of the season. After a strong summer, the Cowboys wanted to use him in their subpackages, but he hasn’t been able to stay healthy. He could become a full-time safety when he gets back on the field. Grade: Incomplete

Jourdan Lewis, CB, third round: Lewis was not able to practice much in the summer due to a hamstring injury, but he showed quickly that he was not afraid of the big stage. He played so well that the Cowboys decided to part ways with veteran Nolan Carroll. Lewis has natural ball skills and has one of the Cowboys’ three interceptions on the season. He could become a starter in the base defense soon. Grade: Above average

Ryan Switzer, WR, fourth round: He was drafted because of his return ability, but Switzer’s decision-making has been spotty at times. He has also yet to break a big return in either the punt or kickoff game. Switzer was always going to be limited in his role offensively, due to the receiving targets ahead of him on the depth chart. The Cowboys need him to have a greater influence on field position. Grade: Average

Xavier Woods, S, sixth round: In the past few weeks, he has moved into the subpackages and been part of a rotation of safeties. The Cowboys believe he has the skills to make plays on the ball and has really good awareness. Woods needs to shore up his tackling to earn more trust from the coaches, but he can see plays develop quickly. Grade: Average

Marquez White, CB, sixth round: White showed flashes in the summer and in preseason, but he was among the Cowboys’ final roster cuts. He has spent the regular season on the practice squad. Unless there are injuries, he will likely spend the entire season on the practice squad, with an eye to a bigger role in 2018. Grade: Incomplete

Noah Brown, WR, seventh round: He has done a nice job mostly in a blocking role offensively. Brown is a big body and is willing to take on defenders, if necessary. He made one of the key blocks on an Ezekiel Elliott touchdown catch. Brown needs to improve his technique as a receiver, but he has raw skills worth developing. Grade: Average

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The goal coming into the season for the Dallas Cowboys’ defense was to create 40 takeaways.

Never mind that no team has reached that figure since 2012 when the Chicago Bears (44) and New England Patriots (41); the Cowboys were aiming high.

Through five games, they have three takeaways, putting them on pace for 10 on the season.

“The biggest thing we want to do is just keep focusing on what we need to do to get those takeaways and how we can coach it better, how we can execute it better,” coach Jason Garrett said. “We focus on that each and every day, and obviously takeaways are a big part of being a successful defense. We’ve done a good job of that in the past, and it really helps our football team. Obviously, by nature you’re eliminating an opportunity for one of their eight, 10, 12 drives in the game. You’re taking one of them away, and you’re giving your offense hopefully a favorable opportunity. We place a great premium on that, and we’ll continue try to do better at it.”

During the portion of practice open to the media on Thursday, defensive backs and linebackers went through drills designed to simulate interceptions and forcing fumbles.

But what if all the drills in the world don’t lead to more takeaways?

“You can continue to coach it differently in practice, you can address it in the meeting room with tape, you can give other guys opportunities to do some of the things the guys on the field at the time aren’t doing,” Garrett said. “You evaluate everything. How you coach, how you play and we’re going to continue to place a premium on it because it makes a big difference in winning and losing in this league, and it has for a long time.”

The Cowboys’ defense has gone 213 snaps without a takeaway. Late in the third quarter of their 42-17 loss to the Denver Broncos, rookie cornerback Jourdan Lewis intercepted Trevor Siemian. There have been 213 offensive plays since that takeaway by the Cowboys’ opponents without a turnover.

“Can’t think of it now,” Lewis said. “Just got to try and go get them right now.”

“It’s one of our main points,” safety Byron Jones said. “It’s hard to win the old-fashioned way and just play good defense the entire time. You’ve got to take the ball away. You’ve got to make a splash play.”

The Cowboys have had what defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli calls “missed opps,” but not even enough of those. They missed a chance at a fumble by Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff after a DeMarcus Lawrence sack. They have had a couple of potential interceptions fall incomplete.

“Once one comes, you hope there is more to come, that there’s more to follow,” Jones said. “But we’ve got to get one first. We’ve got to get one.”

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Even by Dallas Cowboys standards, last week was a doozy.

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones brought attention into the locker room by saying a player would be benched if he did not stand for the national anthem. President Donald Trump appreciated Jones’ comments, but some players were confused. Jones later met with the team to discuss his stance, which came after a local labor union filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.

On the field, the Cowboys cut one of their opening day cornerbacks, Nolan Carroll. In March, the Cowboys gave him a $3 million signing bonus as their biggest free-agent signing. For less than six quarters of action, he will earn $4 million from the Cowboys ostensibly because rookie cornerback Jourdan Lewis is ready to play more.

The Cowboys saw their opening day nose tackle, Stephen Paea, retire because of a knee injury that kept him out of practice since the first week of the season. Paea’s play in the preseason allowed the Cowboys to say goodbye to last year’s biggest free-agent signing, Cedric Thornton, despite owing him $3 million. Without Paea, the Cowboys have just one true defensive tackle, Brian Price, who was claimed off waivers at the start of the season.

Not long after the Cowboys said goodbye for the bye weekend, they learned running back Ezekiel Elliott will have to serve his six-game suspension unless he is granted a temporary injunction from a New York court that already has ruled in the NFL’s favor regarding commissioner discipline.

Oh, by the way, the Cowboys are one of the more disappointing teams of the young season with a 2-3 record.

“Our focus is football and trying to right the ship,” All-Pro center Travis Frederick said. “Things obviously haven’t gone as well as we want. One of the benefits we have as being the Dallas Cowboys is we always have distractions. There’s always stuff around. That’s just kind of the world we live in, so I feel like this team is good at kind of moving that stuff to the back and thinking about football.”

Talk of distractions always seem to envelope the Cowboys, but coach Jason Garrett’s process-oriented approach has the team focusing only on the day at hand and worrying about nothing more. Remember, a year ago this was a team that lost its starting quarterback, Tony Romo, and handed the keys to a fourth-round pick.

All Dak Prescott did was put together one of the best seasons by a rookie quarterback in NFL history, and the Cowboys responded with a 13-3 record.

Prescott is just 21 starts into his NFL career, but the Cowboys already have elected him a captain and will follow his lead.

“I think just make sure nothing changes,” Prescott said. “I think we’re doing enough. We’ve just got to keep going. I think the approach of the leadership roles within our team are making sure we’re staying focused. We’re not getting down on ourselves. We’re not losing confidence from one player or from one unit or from the team. Staying focused.”

Garrett will lean on his leadership council, a group of more than a dozen players from every position group that includes Jason Witten, Prescott, Dez Bryant, Sean Lee and others.

“We rely on those guys to lead our football team,” Garrett said. “They have great credibility with me, with their teammates and with their coaches, so they’re certainly guys we count on to lead our football team day in and day out and respect their thoughts on things. The biggest thing we want to do is simply to get back to work. I think they understand that more than anybody else.”

The Cowboys officially get back to work Tuesday at noon CT for a conditioning run, followed by a team meeting.

A week ago, they still were stinging from the last-second loss to the Green Bay Packers, their second straight home defeat despite scoring 30 points in both games. They were dealing with Jones’ comments, unsure if Paea could continue to play or if Carroll even wanted to play. It took two more days for the Cowboys to learn of Elliott’s suspension.

Their off week did not go well, with every other team in the NFC East winning. Only the Chicago Bears (2-4), New York Giants (1-5) and San Francisco 49ers (0-6) have a worse record in the NFC than the Cowboys (2-3).

There is no panic, but there is a sense of urgency. To Frederick, there is a difference.

“A level of control, I would say. With a sense of urgency, you understand the situation and you are focusing on quickly identifying it and correcting it,” Frederick said. “Panic is, in my mind, pandemonium and you’ve lost control of the situation. I don’t think that’s an issue at all. I think the guys are really trying to get it right, not overreact.”

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The Dallas Cowboys’ work week is over. Given the team’s bye this weekend, the next time players are due back at The Star is Tuesday at noon for a conditioning run and then meetings.

The two days of practice this week were light. They featured a lot of Cowboys versus Cowboys work, starters against starters — at least those who could practice — and backups against backups. There was not much of a deep dive into what has led to the team’s 2-3 start. That will be saved for the coaches’ work.

But as the Cowboys get ready to come back from the bye, what can they change to make sure 2-3 doesn’t turn into 8-8, 7-9 or worse?

This is more difficult than people believe. The Twitter-verse wants the Cowboys to trade for Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman or a great safety or a pass-rusher. Some want the Cowboys to sign free-agent cornerback Darrelle Revis or another big-name, past-his-prime player.

Is a trade possible? Sure. But the last time the Cowboys made a significant addition at the trade deadline was wide receiver Roy Williams in 2008. That didn’t work out. That doesn’t mean you never make a deal again, but few big names change teams. Yes, the New England Patriots traded Chandler Jones and Jamie Collins and still won a Super Bowl, but everything about the Patriots is the exception and not the norm.

By cutting cornerback Nolan Carroll, the Cowboys have put their faith in third-round draft pick Jourdan Lewis. Carroll was a progress stopper, so he’s out. Now Lewis has to play better and reward the team for its faith over the final 11 weeks.

The Cowboys want to play rookie Chidobe Awuzie more at safety, but he can’t seem to steer clear of hamstring strains. They also want to play rookie safety Xavier Woods more. The Atlanta Falcons had success with multiple rookies and younger players in their secondary last year, but it’s a gamble.

Dallas’ vaunted offensive line needs to play better too. One change could come at left guard, where Chaz Green and Jonathan Cooper have shared starting duties the first five games. Will the Cowboys give Byron Bell a chance to start, which could help their interior pass protection but maybe take away some of their versatility in the run game?

Linebacker Sean Lee’s return to the lineup will absolutely help a defense that has been ripped apart in the two games he has missed. Linebacker Anthony Hitchens should be better as he gets accustomed to game speed after missing the first four games with a tibial plateau fracture. If that happens, the D’s quality of play should be better, and second-year linebacker Jaylon Smith won’t be asked to play so many snaps.

Dallas shouldn’t give away top-end future draft picks in hopes of hitting the jackpot. The Cowboys need their top players to perform better, they need their role players to play better, and they need their coaches to coach better.

The Cowboys’ biggest improvement in the final 11 games has to come from within.